CROWN Vs. BRISH BHAN AND ANR.
HIGH COURT OF PUNJAB AND HARYANA
Brish Bhan And Anr.
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Teja Singh, C.J. -
(1.) SUB -Inspector Kuldip Singh, Kotwal of Malerkotla was attacked and killed at Malerkotla town on 2nd Har, 2006 corresponding to 15th June, 1949. The first information report at the police station was lodged at 9 A.M. and in the course of investigation that was taken in hand at once a number of persons were arrested. A report regarding the incident and various matters connected therewith made by Shri Brish Bhan was published in the issue of the "Tribune" Ambala dated 23rd June 1949 and a translation of the report appeared in the issue of the Daily Vir Bharat dated 26th June 1949 printed at Delhi. The Malwa Gazette, a weekly Urdu paper printed at Patiala, published 6 articles relating to the same incident, three in its issue of 11th Har 2006 (24th June 1949) and two in that of 19th Har, 2006 (2nd July 1949). The publication of the report and the articles mentioned above have given rise to the following three petitions for contempt of court made by the Government Advocate under Section 3, Patiala Contempt of Courts Act: (i) criminal Miscellaneous No. 64 of 2006, against Mr. Brish Bhan; (ii) Criminal Miscellaneous No. 66 of 2006 against Dr. T.G and Goswami Editor, Printer and Publisher of Malwa. Gazette, and (iii) Criminal Miscellaneous No. 67 of 2006 against Mr. J. Natrajan, Editor and L. Ganpat Rai, Printer and Publisher respectively of the Tribune and Mr. Hardyal Shad, Editor and Mr. Chaman Lal Kutial, Printer and Publisher of Vir Bharat.
(2.) AS regards Shri Brish Bhan's report, it was alleged by the Petitioner that it was intended to prejudice the fair trial of the case relating to the Kotwal's murder before a Court or, at any rate, it had the tendency to interfere with due course of justice. As regards the articles published in the Malwa Gazette, the Petitioner's position was that the writer had made an attempt therein to defend the citizens of Malerkotla and the parsons arrested and had made serious insinuations against the administration, that the substance of the articles left no room for doubt that the same were calculated to influence the minds of not only the prosecution witnesses, but also the general public and that they were prejudicial to the final trial of the case. Only Shri Brish Bhan and Dr. G. Goswami have appeared in response to the notices issued to them to show cause why they should not be convicted and punished for contempt of Court. The Respondents in criminal Miscellaneous No. 57 of 2006, though personally served, have failed to attend.
(3.) IN the petition against Shri Brish Bhan, it was mentioned that it was the result of a sort of private inquiry that he conducted on the spot. Shri Brish Bhan in his written statement admitted having made the inquiry and published the report. His defence was that he did so as a part of his public duty. This is what he said in paragraph 3 of his written statement:
With reference to para. 3 of the petition the Respondent submits that he is an Advocate on the rolls of this Hon'ble Court for the last 16 years and is also President of the Pepsu Provincial Congress Committee. The Respondent further submits that he enquired into the happenings as a part of his public duty as responsible head of the Congress Organisation.
He, however, denied that he had any intention to commit a contempt of Court or that the report had the tendency to interfere with the course of justice. Paragraph 6 of his written statement which deals with this point reads as below:
With reference to para. 6 of the petition the Respondent denies that the article was intended to prejudice the fair trial of any case before the Court or has a tendency to interfere with the due course of justice. The Respondent never intended to commit contempt of Court. The Respondent further submits that as far as the statements of facts in the said article are concerned they are made after a bona fide and proper inquiry into the circumstances and are true in substance. In the event of it being held that the statement contains any comments the Respondent says that they were made bona fide in public interest and in the interest of the justice with a view to draw attention of the authorities to the circumstances culminating in the death of the Sub -Inspector referred and in the due discharge of his duty as a public man.
He also denied that at the time the report was published any proceedings were sub -judice or the case was pending in any Court.;
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